The Harvard women's hockey team looks to remain atop the ECAC standings with its final home weekend of the year. (Elan Kawesch).
The Opening Faceoff
Having already clinched home ice for the ECAC quarterfinals, the No. 6/6 Harvard women's hockey team will set its sights on the last two weekends in search of earning the conference's top seed, beginning with crucial matchups with No. 5/5 Clarkson and St. Lawrence in the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. The Crimson (19-3-3, 14-2-2 ECAC) welcomes in the Golden Knights (21-4-5, 12-2-4 ECAC) for a top-10 tilt on Friday before squaring off with the Saints (10-16-3, 9-6-3 ECAC) for Senior Day on Saturday.
The First Line
- Though Northeastern knocked Harvard into the Beanpot Consolation with a 4-3 win on the first Tuesday of the month, the Crimson rebounded a week later in thrilling fashion. After Jessica Harvey notched her first career goal in the first period against Boston University, the Terriers scored twice, holding a 2-1 lead with under 10 minutes to go in the game. Miye D'Oench banged home her team-leading 15th goal of the season to even the ledger and force an overtime period, Harvard's fourth of the season. After five minutes of back-and-forth, physical play, Samantha Reber vaulted the Crimson into the winner's circle with her game winner coming with 10.9 seconds remaining.
- Harvard and Clarkson will meet with the No. 1 spot in the ECAC rankings on the line. Coming into the weekend, the Crimson owns 30 points (14 wins, two ties), just ahead of Cornell's 29 (13 wins, three ties) and the Knights' 28 (12 wins, four ties).
- This weekend will be the last one at home for the Crimson in the regular season. After Harvard faces Clarkson and St. Lawrence, the Crimson heads to Yale and Brown to close out ECAC play, before hosting the conference quarterfinals on Feb. 28-March 2.
Follow @HarvardCrimson, the official Twitter handle of Harvard Athletics, for all the latest news and notes on your favorite Crimson student-athletes and teams. Fans also are encouraged to follow @HarvardWHockey for all things Harvard women's hockey. Use the hashtag #GoCrimson to see what fans are saying about Crimson athletics.
- .@HarvardWHockey will celebrate Senior Day on Sat. Gina McDonald & Elizabeth Parker will play their last regular season home game at Bright.
- .@HarvardWHockey is looking for its 20th win of the year this weekend. #HH has won 20+ games 11 times in program history
- Jessica Harvey scored her first career goal in the #Beanpot win over BU on Tuesday. She's the 4th #HH skater to score her first this year.
Saturday's game against St. Lawrence will be Senior Day for the Crimson, who will pay tribute to both fourth-year members Gina McDonald and Elizabeth Parker. Togther, McDonald and Parker have led Harvard to an impressive 82-30-11 record through this season, including an outstanding 62-14-8 record in ECAC play. Both forwards have combined for 29 goals, 39 assists and 68 points in 239 total games played.
Out in Front
The Crimson has made a habit of making a statement in the first period this season, and it's led to some great success. In 25 games, Harvard has scored 22 first-period goals, jumping out to the game's first lead 17 times. The Crimson is unbeaten – an impressive 15-0-2 – when scoring first this year and also is unblemished when leading after the first (13-0-2). Conversely, Harvard has only yielded eight goals in the opening frame, but is just 4-3-1 when the opposition scores first.
Crimson, White and Blue
Though Harvard is enjoying a successful season on the ice itself, the Crimson also is enjoying the successes of five members of the Harvard Hockey family, who will travel to Sochi in February. Katey Stone, the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Ice Hockey, is the head coach for the U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey team and will take with her four skaters with Harvard ties.
Current members Lyndsey Fry, Michelle Picard and Josephine Pucci and prominent alumna Julie Chu '07 were chosen as members of the 2014 U.S. Olympic team.
Still Killing It
Even though Harvard has given up three power play goals in the last four games, the Crimson still owns the nation's best penalty kill unit. Together, the defense has halted 106-of-111 opponents' power play opportunities (95.5-percent), better than any other program. Right behind the Crimson, however, sits Friday's foe, Clarkson (111-of-119, 93.3-percent).
Shooting for 20
With a victory over the weekend, Harvard would reach the 20-win plateau for the third straight season. The Crimson has won 20 or more contests 11 times in 15 years, starting with its 33-1-0, national title season in 1998-99. Last year, Harvard skated to a 24-6-3 record after reaching the NCAA tournament.
A Look at the Golden Knights
Clarkson enters the weekend showdown as the No. 5 team in the land, according to both USA Today/Coaches and USCHO.com. Now sitting at 24-4-5 overall (12-2-4 in the ECAC), the Golden Knights are still one of the hottest teams in the country. Clarkson has the second-longest unbeaten streak in the nation at 12 games (9-0-3), but tied both games last weekend: a 3-3 stalemate against Quinnipiac and a 2-2 tie vs. Princeton in Cheel Arena.
The Golden Knights have scored 111 goals this season (3.7 per game), thanks in part to one of the ECAC's most potent threats in Jamie Lynn Rattray. The senior forward leads CU with 51 points, coming off 25 goals and 26 assists this season. With her, though, is Erin Ambrose, who is adding 10 goals and a team-best 32 assists for 42 points. Both Brittany Styner and Carly Mercer round out the top-5 point-earners for the Green and Gold, as Styner has accumulated 39 points (12-27-39), while Mercer has 38 (13-25-38).
Erica Howe has started all 30 games in net for the Knights this season, seeing time in all but one period in her senior campaign. Howe has a nation-best 10 shutouts, and has allowed just 35 goals this year (1.18 GAA). She also has padded away 518 shots for a .937 save percentage to solidify herself as one of the premier goalies in the country.
The Series with Clarkson
Harvard holds an 18-7-2 advantage all-time over CU, thanks to a 2-0 win over the Knights this season in Potsdam. Sophomore Mary Parker scored once in the first and once in the second period to give the Crimson all the firepower it needed in the victory, while Emerance Maschmeyer was nothing short of a brick wall, stopping all 36 shots the Knights sent her way.
A Look at the Saints
St. Lawrence visits Cambridge on Saturday with 21 points, good enough for fifth in the ECAC. The Saints suffered a dry spell in early January, but have come on recently, going 4-2-0 in their last six outings, including a 3-0 win against Quinnipiac last Saturday.
SLU has only found the back of the net 60 times this year (2.1 per game), but is led by a pair of dangerous scorers. Mel Desrochers (9-19-28) and Rylee Smith (9-12-21) are the top-scoring duo, while Brooke Webster adds another dynamic with her 7-11-18 points.
In net, a platoon of goaltenders has seen time, but shouldering much of the load has been Carmen MacDonald. The junior netminder has all 10 of the Saints' wins in her 23 starts, while allowing 44 goals (1.96 GAA) and making 629 saves this season.
The Series with St. Lawrence
The Crimson (36-12-6 all-time vs. SLU) got an early season test when visiting the Saints on Nov. 8, the fourth game of the year. Though Harvard scored three first-period goals, its highest total all season, the Crimson allowed two in the third as SLU made a game of it. Maschmeyer used 10 third period saves, however, to prevent any more damage and protect the win. Freshman Sydney Daniels collected her first-career game winner in the victory, scoring the third goal after both Samantha Reber and Sarah Edney found the back of the net in the first 10 minutes.